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Mon 27th Jul 2020 - City Pub Group – sales have been 63% of previous levels in first three weeks but we’re profitable
City Pub Group – sales have been 63% of previous levels in first three weeks but we’re profitable: City Pub Group has reported sale 63% of previous levels in the first three weeks of re-opening. Ahead of the Annual General Meeting to be held later today, the company stated: “On 4 July, the group reopened 24 of its 48 pubs, with a further eight pubs reopening over the last two weeks, taking the total number of pubs open and trading to 32. It is our intention to open the remaining pubs over the course of the next two months, or earlier if social distancing measures are relaxed further. We are pleased with our encouraging performance to date since reopening, with our staff working under new rules and adapting to the new socially distanced trading environment with pubs operating at reduced capacities. Stand out performances have been delivered by a number of our pubs, such as the Hoste, North Norfolk, which is benefitting from a significant increase in domestic tourism. Total sales for the three week period since 4 July were £1.8m. On a like-for-like basis, sales were at 63% of previous levels. Following thorough work during lockdown, significant reductions have been made across our cost base, including payroll costs, consumables, satellite TV, entertainment, recruitment, and these together with operational efficiencies from our streamlined offering, have allowed the company to trade profitably and generate cash during the three-week period. Furthermore, the board is continuing to review of the group’s head office and pub costs. Savings have already been made at these levels and further savings have been identified, with the review expected to be completed by the end of September. The group has also implemented a centralised sales and marketing department, which has replaced many functions that were previously managed at site and regional level. The profitable performance since reopening is a reflection of the quality of our asset base and the professionalism demonstrated by all of our staff, a large number of whom have been with the group for a number of years. Again, the board wishes to put on record its gratitude to all its stakeholders. The board remains confident it will be able to rebuild its sales to previous levels on a much lower cost base.”

Osmond: Casual dining chains have “no future”: Serial sector investor Hugh Osmond has warned that high street casual dining chains have “no future” after coronavirus, and groups acquiring struggling chains fail to understand the business”. Osmond, who with fellow entrepreneur Luke Johnson took PizzaExpress public and expanded the chain to more than 200 sites during the 1990s, told the Financial Times that the model for midmarket branded restaurants was “absolutely broken”, because of massive oversupply in the sector, high overhead costs and a decline in visitor numbers even before the pandemic. Osmond, who is planning to list a special purpose acquisition company on the New York Stock Exchange in the coming weeks, said the opportunities were now in upmarket chains such as millionaire Richard Caring’s The Ivy, saying those places would survive. Despite the difficulties faced by retail and restaurant chains, Osmond said he was still a “massive believer in the high street” but called for an overhaul of rent structures. “You have to set the rent at a place where an averagely good operator can make a reasonable return on his or her capital... [Landlords] have completely ignored that idea for the last ten to 15 years,” he said.

Revolution to begin trading on AIM this morning: Revolution Bars Group, the operator of 74 premium bars trading under the ‘Revolution’ and ‘Revolución de Cuba’ brands, begins trading on AIM (Alternative Investment Market) this morning. A fundraising to raise gross proceeds of £15.0 million, announced 5 June 2020, will also complete. At the same time, the admission of the Existing Ordinary Shares to listing on the premium listing segment of the Official List and to trading on the Main Market will be cancelled. 

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